Tez Rants: When Authors Negatively Publicise Their Fan-Mail

The vast majority of authors are decent people who truly appreciate fan-mail from their readers, even if the reader hasn’t expressed their appreciation in the exact words the author wants them to.

The vast majority of authors don’t then go on to draft a blog post dissecting the piece of fan-mail, and what they would’ve preferred it to say.

The vast majority of authors don’t actually post their dissection of the fan-mail on their group blog.

The vast majority of authors don’t delete the post, then have the group blog release a statement that the author in question is sorry people read it, sorry people were offended or upset about it. And probably sorry that someone screen-capped it before it was deleted, then shared it on the Internet, where everyone then shared it with everyone else.

And therefore it seems as though the statement was released not because the author in question is actually sorry, but instead sorry she was caught, and that the incident went viral (of sorts).

Even us non-authors have read something, become disgruntled about it (deservedly or otherwise), then posted an off-the-cuff Tweet expressing our displeasure. But those off-the-cuff Tweets are really just a quick thought, maybe only one minute between reading something and then posting our reaction to it.

But actually spending time and effort dissecting something? Typing it up, formatting it, posting it to a group blog? That’s not off-the-cuff. That takes more than one minute for me, but your experience may differ.

The author in question is probably hoping this whole incident – which may have seemed minor to her in the beginning – would just go away, that we’d forget it ever happened. The author’s books were never on my wish-list anyway, and her name meant nothing to me. But I can’t be the only person now who has the author on our radar but not in a good way.

Because if that’s the way she treats her fans, then I’m not convinced she deserves to have fans.

She wants her fiction judged on its own merit? Fine.

I can like authors as people, even if their books don’t work for me. But I can’t like certain books if I don’t like their authors. Books aren’t their authors? Not even part? Not when books are their babies, part of them, their therapy of working through issues? The result of so much of their time and effort, if nothing else?

When I don’t like an author as a person – or simply one little thing they may have done – their books are immediately deleted from my wish-list, if they were ever there in the first place. So many books, so little money with which to buy them, so little time in which to read them. I know how much word-of-mouth and sales mean to authors, so I choose to spend my time and money on those who are worthy of it.

And yes, I will continue to spread news of “authors behaving badly”, or whatever you may call it. Because other readers deserve to have knowledge. What they choose to do, or not do, with that knowledge is completely up to them.

No, I haven’t approached the author directly. I’m not going to “bully” her, and I don’t suggest others do, either. She knows what she did. She knows what she thought at the time, and why – I don’t.

But I do recommend you consider whether the author, as a person, deserves your time and money. What you choose to do, or not do, with this knowledge is completely up to you.

To all the awesome authors remaining awesome: We salute you! πŸ™‚

SCREENCAPS & LINKS
Link the screencaps of the deleted post (Scroll down – they’re in the comments.)
Link to the group blog’s statement

Note:The person on whose Facebook the author made the comment has requested the screencap to be removed. I am doing so. But I am keeping the text here. If you want to see the screencap, email me, and I’ll send it through, so you can have proof that I’m not mangling the author’s words.

TEXT OF THE FACEBOOK COMMENT
“Just wanted to point out, since people are discussing last week’s debacle from Writer Unboxed, that the post was withdrawn and I apologised to anyone who was offended or upset. If someone has posted the whole thing elsewhere that’s unfortunate. I hope readers will judge my fiction on its merits.”

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12 responses to “Tez Rants: When Authors Negatively Publicise Their Fan-Mail

  1. Her publisher sent me her most recent book. I have been on the fence about reading, not sure it was my thing, but after following her poor behavior I’ve decided not to read or review it. There are other authors I will gladly give my time and money.

  2. This is such an important point – for authors and for everyone to remember. Seeing it from an author’s perspective: my books are not me (and I don’t expect everyone to like them – in fact, I fully anticipate some people won’t) and a person’s judgment of my book is not a judgment OF me.

    That said, although the books are not me, I am my books – by which I mean that my reputation and my behavior impact the way people see me – as it does in any other industry. Rudeness turns people off – and it turns people off to our products too (no matter what those products are.

    It probably helps that I actually appreciate every person who would take the time to read my books (or my blog, or anything else I write), but it certainly bears remembering – for all of us – that a moment of kindness and a moment of rudeness both ripple out around us, and it’s worth the extra moment to consider in advance the kind of ripples we want to send.

    • It’s difficult to completely separate authors and books, considering that books are the culmination of the author’s time and effort, if nothing else. And she knew she did the wrong thing, but the fauxpology doesn’t save her bacon – it seemed too stage-managed and dishonest. Press releases never have the same heart that comes from a true apology.

      You don’t need to worry about yourself, though, Susan – you have a good heart πŸ™‚

      • Thanks Tez πŸ™‚ I try to pay attention, partly because I know what it feels like to be treated like I don’t matter, and I don’t ever want to give another person the impression that they don’t matter to me. I don’t always succeed at that, or even do it as well as I’d like, but I keep trying.

  3. WOW!!! There is NO excuse for that. Oh my gosh, how amazingly arrogant. I’ve never read her. Never will. Thanks for this, Tez.

  4. Can I please request that the screencap and comment from my Facebook page be removed? It was a private comment on a private page, *not* a public comment, and I don’t appreciate my Facebook page being screencapped.

    For the record, I think that authors are allowed to make mistakes. Juliet Marillier made a blog post that she regretted, apologised for it and took it down. You may see it differently and want to boycott her books, and that’s your right. Just as it’s my right to believe that she’s allowed to make a mistake, apologise for it and move on. Many other authors don’t even bother to apologise.

    • I have deleted the screencap from my blog, but I’m keeping the text – because for all the Internet knows, I could’ve just made it up, anyway. They have no proof either way.

      And of course authors are allowed to make mistakes, we all are. But if apologies do come, we expect them to be genuine. As in “sorry I had these feelings” – rather than “sorry you found out I have these feelings”.

      I kept your name out of it, because in my eejit mind this was totally not about you, but I understand now that screencapping and sharing the text was a breech of confidence. And I am truly sorry for that. I never meant for this to be about you, but unfortunately I’m now understanding that I should consider ALL parties, and not just my own and the public at large. I was wrong. I was selfish. I got caught up in the big picture and forgot about the details. I’m sorry for that, and I’m going to take some time to remind myself of boundaries, to work to become a better, more considerate person.

  5. Pingback: A rant about reviews… | eBook Lovers Co-Op

  6. Thanks for your honest opinion and well said. I think all of us, as an author myself, some times get caught up in the emotion of words and forget to separate ourselves and like you said, see it objectively from all parties sides. I agree with what others said, I want HONEST feedback and though I will not please everyone, I do spend a lot of time making my work the best I can. I would never think to A. post another person’s email/words and then go on to dissect it; B. Appreciate the words from whomever took their time to say their peace (whether I agreed or not); C. Take it as a learning experience and move on. I had a similar incident with another author. I did a review of her series and even did one complete chapter of edits for her (freelance edit for others). The edits were 5 pages long. YES…5 pages, this after the book had been re-released for the second time. I kindly sent them back to her and her response was not like I had hoped. “Sorry, I just did my edits AGAIN and will NOT be doing them again.” It is of course her choosing and I can not make her do anything, but as another author and a once fan of hers, I felt bad, because her writing was good and the book would’ve and can be something so much more if I wasn’t always trying to get through: were/where, too/too/two, accept/except, witch/which…among so many other issues. But I did it, gave her a fair shot. In contrast, I did the same thing for two other, well-known authors and they were amazing! Real professionals, extremely nice and treated me with the utmost respect.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • An author asked for edits, but refused to do them? Of course everyone wants to be an author when it’s fun, but when it comes to actual work, the tough get going πŸ˜‰

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